Tiger’s assistant relies on ‘Fly’ to Waverley, Freo sharpens Magpie

Tiger’s assistant relies on ‘Fly’ to Waverley, Freo sharpens Magpie
Tiger’s assistant relies on ‘Fly’ to Waverley, Freo sharpens Magpie
HAWTHORN will fill one of the gaps in Alastair Clarkson’s coaching staff with highly regarded Richmond assistant Craig McRae.

McRae is still part of the Tigers’ drive for a third Premier League in four years after being promoted from VFL coach to oversee the club’s forward line this season.

However, AFL.com.au. The 47-year-old, who played for Brisbane’s three-peat flag in 2001/03, will join the Hawks at the start of the preseason once his Richmond contract expires.

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The news follows the decision by Tigers assistant Justin Leppitsch to retire from football at the end of the season.

Clarkson and Richmond trainer Damien Hardwick previously worked together at Hawthorn and are close friends.

McRae coached the Tigers VFL team up to the 2019 Premier League and was named Deputy Trainer of the Year by the AFL Coaches’ Association and VFL Trainer of the Year.

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Starting in 2007, he spent three years in Richmond as a player development coach, spent one season with the Lions as a development coach, and then served as a development manager at Collingwood for five years.

McRae, known as “Fly,” returned to the Tigers for the 2016 season and has been there ever since.

His experience also includes working as a part-time trainer for the NRL powerhouse Melbourne Storm, where he is also highly valued.

Former Hawks assistant coaches Scott Burns and Adem Yze have taken on new roles at Adelaide and Melbourne, respectively.

Max Bailey, Damian Carroll, Torin Baker, Marco Bello and the two-time All-Australian Brett Deledio also left Hawthorn as part of the AFL’s soft cap squeeze.

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Meanwhile, Fremantle is pursuing Collingwood assistant Matthew Boyd for a key coaching role next season.

The Dockers are believed to have offered the Pies’ backline trainer a multi-year deal to move west under senior trainer Justin Longmuir.

Boyd worked as a development coach at Longmuir in Collingwood from 2018-2019 before taking the lead when Longmuir moved to Fremantle ahead of this season.

The Dockers have expressed interest in Pies assistant Matthew Boyd. Image: AFL Photos

The Dockers have multiple positions to fill after parting ways with backline trainer Michael Prior and stopping trainer Anthony Rock in August with five games left.

Boyd also has a connection with the club’s executive director, Simon Garlick, who played as a team-mate for the Western Bulldogs from 2003-2004.

Other coaching news assumes that Dean Solomon is not moving towards a senior assistant position in the short term – although clubs are showing interest – and will instead focus on his new gym business.

Solomon was surprisingly part of the Gold Coast coaching decision in September.

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